All About Sauvignon Blanc
A summertime favorite, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most distinctive and recognizable among white varietals. In contrast to its grape sibling, Chardonnay, the wine presents with an unmistakable bracing acidity. Sauvignon Blanc is an expressive wine that commands attention and fans from around the world. Over ten countries specialize in Sauvignon Blanc with each region lending an exclusive taste and character. Freshness and punchy flavors make this wine a true personification of its name. The origin of the word ‘sauvignon’ can be traced to the French words sauvage and vigne – a blending of wild and vine. Sauvignon Blanc honors its name with untamed flavors that are a delight to wine enthusiasts.
Sauvignon Blanc is characteristically refreshing and crisp; however, the flavor of the wine is one of its most sought-after features. There are two winemaking styles of Sauvignon Blanc that result in different tasting experiences. The first and most-widely used, unoaked, involves fermentation in stainless steel or concrete tanks. This produces wines with assertive and vibrant flavors which have become the hallmark of the varietal. You are likely to taste and detect aromas of citrus, green herbs, melon and other fruit profiles. The second style is oak barrel aged which expresses more depth, creaminess, and folds in flavors of butter and lemon curd. The terroir of each region also influences the taste and character of the wine. Sauvignon Blanc is most often a dry and light to medium-bodied wine. In regard to color – expect to see a range of yellow showing from greenish yellow, to golden yellow, lemon or straw colored. For the best drinking experience, the wine should be served chilled around 45 degrees Fahrenheit and in a white wine glass.
Ready to taste? Browse our Sauvignon Blanc labels that are on sale.
Sauvignon Blanc is indigenous to the Loire Valley of France and dates back over 500 years. The grape itself is the suspected offspring of a French variety, Savagnin, and is also the parent grape to Cabernet Sauvignon. The Loire Valley has a moderate climate with slightly higher temperatures than other areas of France. Some of the most recognized French Sauvignon Blanc wines are grown in the Sancerre region of the Loire Valley and Pouilly Fumé just to the east. Today, Sauvignon Blanc is grown around the world in both warm and cool climates. It is known to be an adaptive grape, likely a heredity tie to its wild beginnings. There are a handful of distinguished countries outside of France, including – New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and the United States that produce outstanding, climate-distinct Sauvignon Blanc.
New Zealand is the newest Sauvignon Blanc producing country with the grape being introduced in the late 1900s. Since then, it has gained swift popularity thanks to its stunning fruit-forward flavors. The most recognized among the regions, that fan down the right flank of the Southern island, is Marlborough. It provides an ideal combination of lengthy, bright days and cool nights. This climate and soil composition make it the most planted region in the country. It allows for long ripening periods on the vine, and due to the cool nights, the grapes mature without compromising the desired acidity. The resulting tastes of grapefruit, green pepper, gooseberry and lemongrass often characterize New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wines. South Africa is another celebrated New World producer sharing similar flavors to New Zealand wines, and frequently, they are less costly with a green profile.
In the Americas, Chilean Sauvignon Blanc is quickly gaining attention. Nestled between mountains and the Pacific Ocean – the coastal valleys of San Antonio and Casablanca are emerging as competitive Sauvignon Blanc producers boasting tropical fruit tastes. In the Northern continent, Sauvignon Blanc is grown in many regions in the United States and was introduced in the 19th century. California’s North Coast and Washington’s Columbia Valley are most closely tied to Sauvignon Blanc. Californian Sauvignon Blanc struggled to compete with Old World wines early after its arrival to the state. Much of the development has happened in just the past twenty years thanks to progressive and committed winemakers. Today, Sauvignon Blanc is one of California’s most consistent, enjoyed and moderately priced wines.
With diverse flavor profiles, Sauvignon Blanc is a smart pairing for many dishes. If you are looking to pair with a cheese board or a small plate - select a soft, strongly flavored cheese to balance the citrus in the wine. Consider goat, parmesan, or feta cheese. Oysters and delicate seafood, like halibut or scallops, are another favorite match. Our wine expert Dave Malone adds, “Florida living offers access to amazing, fresh seafood. If it used to live in a shell, it is a great pair with Sauvignon Blanc.” Dishes that fold in green herbs or vinegar will also enrich and complement the wine. Bitter vegetables like asparagus and artichokes offer another opportunity to showcase flavors. Looking outside of American cuisine, the wine also pairs beautifully with herb inspired Thai dishes.
Already a Sauv fan? Like us, you enjoy flavors that don’t fall in line. If so - you will want to try other aromatic, stand-out, whites. From Italy, we suggest Sardinian Vermentino which is light, but complex with dominate flavors of grapefruit and green almond. Sticking closer to home, Oregon’s Pinot Gris is also likely to capture your interest and become another summertime favorite.
From Our Guests
“I have always thought of Sauvignon Blanc as the less serious, fun cousin to Chardonnay. A little mischievous, charming and fruity. My favorite to pair is fresh halibut and oven-roasted asparagus.” – Leslie Barone, retired restaurateur.